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Better or Worse Than 4 Years Ago?

by J. Money on Friday, November 23, 2012

number 4

Gooooood morning you crazy Thanksgiving’ers and Black Friday’ers! Y’all make it in one piece this morning? Still hungover with food and/or alcohol and/or deals? Haha… Well lucky for you the weekend’s almost here and it’s time to relax! :)

Before you do though, I thought it would be fun to answer some of these survey questions I found over at Kiplinger’s the other week, and see how our answers compare. It was originally created for the whole presidency race that’s obviously now done and over with, but I pulled the most financially-based questions out from ‘em so that we can play our own little game here ourselves.

Here’s all 8 below. I’ll answer first, and then you do so afterwards in the comments, cool? Let’s go…

  1. Overall, are you financially better or worse off today than you were four years ago? Better! Four years ago today we had a net worth of exactly $63,566.66, and right now our net worth is exactly $325,990.16. A 500% difference! And a crazy easy question to answer when you’ve been tracking your money every month like we have :) Always fun to look back on when things are going up! Haha…
  2. Is your employment situation better or worse compared to four years ago? Better! Four years ago I was dreaming of a life where I could blog full-time for a living, and after years of hustling my ass off here we are sitting in my boxers and blaring Kanye West as I type to you ;) Though I’ll admit it’s not *totally* as perfect as it sounds… There are definitely times I miss going into an office and not worrying about taxes or health insurance or even stability for that matter… But overall, yes – definitely blessed to be better off than four years ago and I hope you guys are too!
  3. How does your annual household income compare to four years ago? Hmm… That’s a GREAT question actually. And honestly I think it’s about the same? Back then we had TWO full-time salaries going on from both the wife and I’s 9-5s, and this blog wasn’t generating much of anything. So if we add those two salaries together back then – $50,000 from hers and $75,000 from mine – we’re at around $125,000 in total. Which is almost exactly the same as how much I bring in now off all my online stuff, even though all our 9-5s are gone… Pretty wild eh? The biggest *difference* here, other than where the money’s now coming from, is WHAT WE DO WITH IT ALL! Instead of spending it all willy nilly and enjoy life as we were normally doing back then, we now save and invest a ton more, as well as nixing more of our debts like our mortgages. Something we would have never considered back then. So sometimes it’s HOW you apply this income that’s more important than the income itself.
  4. Are you spending more or less on housing compared to four years ago? BOTH! I’m spending less overall in terms of the actual mortgages themselves over the years since we’ve refinanced both of them within the past four years, but we’re now throwing MORE money against them in order to pay them off quicker too. I’m sure they’re going for an overall view of the situation though, so for that I answer Less :)
  5. How are your investments performing compared to four years ago? BETTER! But that’s not saying much considering back then we were about to get killed with the market crash and all that! Haha… so if this was “worse” then we’d have much bigger problems on our hands ;)
  6. Are you spending more or less on groceries and gas compared to four years ago? MORE! I don’t need to check any budgets or spreadsheets to know that, haha… gas is a ton more and so are groceries! But what are you gonna do?
  7. Do you have more or less debt compared to four years ago? LESS! Thank goodness… We no longer have any car payments or credit card debts racked up (we still budget with credit cards but we pay them off in full every month), and over the recent years we’ve been pummeling away at our mortgages with my extra $2,000/mo goal… If I were to guess, I’d say we were at least $50,000 less in debt than we were back then. That’s not too bad?
  8. Are you saving more or less money compared to four years ago? MORE! About $75,000 more in cash, and about $215,000 more in investments if I compare our net worths from back then and now. Pretty amazing when you look back! (Though I should probably factor in the fact that back then I was just tracking it all under *myself* over BOTH the Mrs and I, so that would probably shave off a good $15k or so in savings since she brought a nice pot to the table there too)

So that’s our situation over here :) I don’t blog about it to brag or get my jollies off or anything like that – had we taken a 4-year snapshot earlier in my life I’d be singing a whole other tune! haha – but just that it’s important to track this stuff and then remind yourself (hopefully) how far you’ve come over the years. And if you’re going backwards, to then kick it into high gear and get back on top of things again! There’s no better time to start than today, baby!

What do your answers look like to these questions above? Are you generally better or worse than 4 years ago today? I hope y’all are on the up and up!! I’ve got faith in you! :)

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PS: Here were the results of the 5,570 people who participated in this survey by Kiplinger’s… It might make you feel better if you answered “worse” to most of these questions above ;)

(Photo Credit: jontintinjordan)


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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 MikeTheRed November 23, 2012 at 7:14 am

I really think it’s interesting to use the 4 year snapshot given the election we all just suffered through. Looking back at that period in my own life I can definitely say I’m ahead of the game from where I was 4 years ago by a significant margin, and it had NOTHING to do with what the rest of the country was doing. I improved my situation through my own hard work and perseverance.

Overall, are you financially better or worse off today than you were four years ago?
Better. Definitely better. 4 years ago I was $14k in debt, living from paycheck to paycheck. It wasn’t necessarily that my pay was too low, it was that I was completely irresponsible with my money. Today my wife and I have a year’s worth of income saved and no debt (no car loans, no CC debt, no student loands). Plus we’re in much better paying jobs!

Is your employment situation better or worse compared to four years ago?
Better in that we have new jobs that pay considerably better and are working for a more stable company (Fortune 250 now vs a 30-person start-up).

How does your annual household income compare to four years ago?
Substantially increased.

Are you spending more or less on housing compared to four years ago?
More, but mostly because we’ve moved to a more expensive part of the country.

How are your investments performing compared to four years ago?
Well, four years ago I had no investments. So…. better now that I have some?

Are you spending more or less on groceries and gas compared to four years ago?
More on both.

Do you have more or less debt compared to four years ago?
Less! $14k 4 years ago, $0 today (I actually just paid off the car loan yesterday, 3 years ahead of schedule)

Are you saving more or less money compared to four years ago?
More! As I said above, 4 years ago I was living paycheck to paycheck. Now, easily half of our income has been going towards savings, paying off that car loan, and in general securing our future.

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2 take_flight November 23, 2012 at 7:42 am

We are a lot better off than we were 4 years ago. Unfortunately, (or fortunately…I guess it depends on how you look at it), hubby and I both lost our jobs during the recession, but it forced us to re-evaluate our lifestyle, and we are MUCH better off for that.

We made our own economy, cut what needed to be cut, and basically started hoarding every extra penny. We made a budget and stuck to it. Some of the things we cut have returned, and some we found we didn’t miss!

We were renting 4 years ago, now we own, (and were able to pay enough down that we only had around 5 years of payments with extra payments, we have 3 left to go!). We had a car payment, and now we have none, (we still have cars though), we are paying less for insurances and utilities, way less for groceries, (we cut that about 60%), and we have a lot more than the $5 in our savings account we needed to keep it open. Actually, we have savings accountS now, and investments!

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3 Lance @ Money Life and More November 23, 2012 at 9:59 am

These are hard to answer because I was in college four years ago but here is my rational…

Overall, are you financially better or worse off today than you were four years ago? Better, I have a job with income and I save a ton of it :)

Is your employment situation better or worse compared to four years ago? Better, I am employed. In fact, my employment situation is the best it has ever been :)

How does your annual household income compare to four years ago? I didn’t have an annual income back then so mos def better.

Are you spending more or less on housing compared to four years ago? More! but not much actually. That and I own a house for it so I can’t complain.

How are your investments performing compared to four years ago? My savings account was my only investment, which is doing worse in terms of return now. However, I have other investments now so overall I’d say better.

Do you have more or less debt compared to four years ago? More, but that is what a mortgage does to you. I have 0 debt back then.

Are you saving more or less money compared to four years ago? More in terms of absolute and percentage!

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4 Edward Antrobus November 23, 2012 at 10:20 am

1) Better. 4 years ago, I was just coming off of a very dark period in my life and my financial life was an absolute mess.
2) Worse, actually. 4 years ago, I was one of only two year round employees at a local farm. They owner told me flat out toward the beginning of Nov ’08 that I had 40 hours/week there for as long as I wanted the job. The following year, I quit to move to Colorado. I’ve only had seasonal jobs ever since. In fact, I think I just got laid off for the winter.
3) WAY higher. I made $12,000 that year. I will personally make almost double that this year, plus I’m married and my wife makes more than I do. Combined, we are looking at about $55k this year.
4) More. But, really there is no comparison. 4 years ago, I lived with my mother and my rent was the groceries, ~$400. For mortgage, lot rent, utilities, and food, we now pay about three times that much.
5) Worse. I actually opened my IRA that year when the first try at a recovery was happening. I was getting double digit returns that year. This year, my portfolio, minus contributions, is actually down.
6) Less on food, more on gas. Food is a lot cheaper out here than it was in NJ. $400 was feeding three people, and now $200 is feeding 2. Gas spending is up because of higher prices, but also more driving (pretty easy to do when you go from one person driving to two).
7) More. We have our small mortgage now and $6k in financed medical debt. But in the last 4 years, I’ve paid off close to $6k in my old debts.
8) More. Despite the fact that our housing costs are more than I made in 2008. But I didn’t save a single penny that year, aside from the $400 in put in my Roth IRA. In fact, I overdrafted my checking account just before Christmas.

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5 Pam@thesavingsblog November 23, 2012 at 10:46 am

I would agree that it is always very important that we are aware of out financial slopes…four years is just enough to figure out whether we are going good it’s just getting worse..:)

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6 Emily @ evolvingPF November 23, 2012 at 11:08 am

We are better off now working with the same material, so I guess we have gotten a lot smarter about money in the last 4 years.

1) We are definitely better off! We have four years of savings between then and now.

2) Our employment situation is exactly the same except we are 4 years closer to getting our PhDs.

3) Four years ago we weren’t married, but combined our incomes were virtually the same as they are now. We only get cost-of-living pay increases to our stipends.

4) We are spending less on housing now, due to our recent move from an apartment to a townhouse. Housing definitely went up in price, though.

5) Obviously, our investments are doing far better now than four years ago.

6) I think we’re spending more on groceries and less on gas. We were able to go down to one car last year so we are carpooling to work every day instead of driving two cars. I don’t know if groceries have gotten more expensive but we buy higher-quality food now than we used to – more meat and fresh vegetables and fewer carby pantry items.

7) We have EXACTLY the same amount of debt as four years ago – my student loans from undergrad, in deferment.

8) We are saving at a higher rate than we were four years ago!

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7 Miranda November 23, 2012 at 11:25 am

Glad to see that you are doing better, overall :) I’ve had a pretty good four years as well, and I am in a better financial position because of it.

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8 Budget & the Beach November 23, 2012 at 11:38 am

Overall, are you financially better or worse off today than you were four years ago? Worse. Four years ago I was employed full time.
Is your employment situation better or worse compared to four years ago? Worse. See above.
How does your annual household income compare to four years ago? Four years ago my salary was 72K, this year I’m making about 38K.
Are you spending more or less on housing compared to four years ago? Less. Thank god, because you can see my situation is tough. I was paying 1450 in rent plus I paid gas. Now I pay 1350 because my landlord took 50 bucks off for me and I rent my garage. And he now pays for gas. I also don’t have cable.
How are your investments performing compared to four years ago? About the same
Are you spending more or less on groceries and gas compared to four years ago? About the same but maybe a little less. I try to get better at this each month.
Do you have more or less debt compared to four years ago? About the same. I never had much in consumer debt these last 10 years. I have about 1,000 now because I had to put emergency dental work on my cc this summer.
Are you saving more or less money compared to four years ago? Way less unfortunately. :(

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9 K.K. @ Living Debt Free Rocks! November 23, 2012 at 11:47 am

Glad to know that life is still good for you J. Money! Life is so much better for me now than it was 4 years ago in so many respects!

1. Overall, are you financially better or worse off today than you were four years ago?
Holy Mother of God way better! Back then I was $55K+ in debt with no money in savings. Now I have ample savings, a husband who is also debt free with savings and I am less than $2300 away from being completely debt free – don’t forget my Blog Party is on Dec 21st ;)

2. Is your employment situation better or worse compared to four years ago? Again much better. 2008 I was working for a great company making decent money but in a position that I really wasn’t feeling challenged by. Now I am self-employed contracted with that same company as a consultant in a brand new role, I work from home wherever that may be and really enjoy what I do.

3. How does your annual household income compare to four years ago? Much higher now. Not only because I’m now married so we are a two-income household but my salary has also increased.

4. Are you spending more or less on housing compared to four years ago? Less but this is temporary (read my post Unconventionalism in Action) until we buy our own home in the next 1-2 years.

5. How are your investments performing compared to four years ago? I would say it’s treading water. I recently transferred my RRSP holdings to another institution so we’ll see what happens once I determine the asset allocation and hold for awhile.

6. Are you spending more or less on groceries and gas compared to four years ago? On the groceries I would say more since we eat out much less than we used to. On the gas front it would be less since we don’t drive the car as much as before since I work from home.

7. Do you have more or less debt compared to four years ago? Almost none now. See my answer to question #1. It’s a feat that I am really proud of since I worked my @$$ off to become debt free.

8. Are you saving more or less money compared to four years ago? I count paying off debt as money “saved” in a sense, plus we have money saved in accounts and investments now so we’re doing pretty well in the saving department.

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10 Financial Black Sheep November 23, 2012 at 11:51 am

This is so funny, because I just blogged about this the week after the election: http://financialblacksheep.com/?p=1231

1)Better -I had to run to a food bank, because I barely had enough money to pay my house payment and nothing else.
2) Better-My hubby and I both lost our jobs and I had to drop out of school. I barely had a part-time job delivering newspapers.
3) Much Better-I can afford to go back to school ‘nuf said
4) Much less-House is fully paid off YEAH BITCHES! oh sorry, went shopping last night and must be still revived up from all the fun :)
5) Better- I had no investments. Seriously, except for the house I had nothing.
6) Less on Groceries and Gas-4 years ago I started reading financial blogs and books and haven’t stopped. My grocery bill is on average $100 per month and gas isn’t too far off from that either, even though my hubby’s work is forever away.
7) WAY LESS- Besides a little credit card debt, currently less than $4,000 because of some medical bills that needed attention, I have no debt. No house payment, no car payment, no student loans. And that’s the way I like it uh huh uh huh. (You don’t really want to hear me singing lol)
8)More- 4 years ago I started a savings account after not having one for years. No joke, I had no savings.

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11 Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies November 23, 2012 at 11:57 am

Our answers are the same as yours except:
Combined PoP income is higher these days- though it’s a tough comparison because we literally both quit our jobs in the summer of 2008. Awesome timing, I know. =)
Debt – we have way more now… since well, in 2008 we had basically 0. Since then we bought 3 properties and a car, but we keep knocking it out in chunks every month.

That said, I don’t know why these types of questions come up to be politicized. In general one person, even if it is the president of the US, has so little impact on the price of gas or food that these questions seem a bit ridiculous.

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12 Samantha November 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Overall, are you financially better or worse off today than you were four years ago?
Better! Consumer debt-free with money in the bank!
Is your employment situation better or worse compared to four years ago?
Better – I love my new job, but we’ve both always worked full-time.
How does your annual household income compare to four years ago?
Better – husband got a raise and is now salary, and I got a new job making more.
Are you spending more or less on housing compared to four years ago?
Less! We refinanced with a very low interest rate.
How are your investments performing compared to four years ago?
Better? We didn’t really have any investments four years ago to compare!
Are you spending more or less on groceries and gas compared to four years ago?
More, but its less as a percentage.
Do you have more or less debt compared to four years ago?
Less! We’ve paid off everything but the mortgage, and hope to see that go in two more years. We’re down to $77k!
Are you saving more or less money compared to four years ago?
Hmm… this is tricky. We are actually “banking” less than when we were piling up an emergency fund, but we are spending less and paying off the mortgage. So I’m going with more.

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13 Brian November 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Without answering all the questions I am going to cop out and say I am better off now since I have a super cute, healthy little boy! Besides that everything else is trending in the right direction too, but he’s the best thing to happen in the last 4 years (well I got married 4 years ago and that was pretty cool too).

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14 K November 23, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I was in college 4 years ago so it’s sort of hard to compare.. but here I go..

Overall, are you financially better or worse off today than you were four years ago?
MUCH better. My husband and I were in college/grad school and hardly making any money.

Is your employment situation better or worse compared to four years ago?
Significantly better. While we were in school 4 years ago, our employment situation is better then it was 2 years ago! The hubby and I were both at our first jobs and we both hated our jobs. Since then, we have found better paying and better enjoying jobs.

How does your annual household income compare to four years ago?
2 years ago, the hubby and I were pulling in $66,000 a year. We switched jobs and now we make $115,000 a year. A HUGE improvement in 2 years. Can’t wait to see what the next 2 years bring

Are you spending more or less on housing compared to four years ago?
Well 4 years ago… we had no responsibilities. Or at least little financial responsibilities. So technically, we are paying more…. But we just bought a house so our money is going to a mortgage rather than rent

How are your investments performing compared to four years ago?
Better! I invested my little bit of cash in the market and I have green on my portfolio!

Do you have more or less debt compared to four years ago?
Technically more. BUT I paid of $13,000 of of my student loans (original balance was $16,000, the remaining balance has a 2.11% interest rate so I have no quick desire to pay it off quickly bc my investments makes a higher return). And then we bought a house. So it’s all good debt to speak.

Are you saving more or less money compared to four years ago?
More! and I keep striving to save more and more every month. Saving is like a drug to me haha. The hubby tells me that I hoard my money like a squirrel haha

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15 J. Money November 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Thanks for participating guys! Always cool to learn more about you :)

@MikeTheRed – YES! Well said – “I improved my situation through my own hard work and perseverance.” That’s def. the mentality to have as it really IS in our own hands! A lot of people like to blame the gov’t or president and plenty of other things, but at the end of the day it all comes down to what WE do about it. And you two are rocking it! Congrats :)
@take_flight – Awesome! You’re own little economy, haha, I love it :) Amazing what you can do when forced to, huh?
@Lance @ Money Life and More – Now the REAL question is, are you having more FUN than you were in college 4 years ago? Haha… We sure do have lots more money and what not, but also responsibilities! ;)
@Edward Antrobus – Crazy what a difference 4 years make, eh? I should do this post again 4 years from now and see how far we’ve all come :) You still gonna be reading then? Hehe…
@Emily @ evolvingPF – Overall you’re on the up and up! Way to go! :)
@Miranda – Great! I like hearing that from other self-employed people because it gives me hope it’ll continue going that way! :)
@Budget & the Beach – Oh no, sorry to hear! That’s def. rought :( I hope things get better for you, friend! Maybe the next year or so will make up for the past frustrating ones? Keep pushing!
@K.K. @ Living Debt Free Rocks! – Holy crap! You almost wiped away $55k in debt?? That’s awesome!! Congrats! I’m gonna go over to your blog soon here and check out your post on Unconventionalism – I like that word :)
@Financial Black Sheep – I still can’t believe you have a paid off house ;) That’s my dream!!! I can’t even imagine life w/out that debt, jeez… way to be killing it!
@Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies – I know, right? I think it’s so that people can have a person/thing to blame ;) Unfortunately people don’t like to take responsibility for their lives as much as they probably should.
@Samantha – Coool!!! You’ll be mortgage-free 6 years sooner than we will, woohoo! That’s an incredible feat you’re doing, keep it up!
@Brian – Haha… Amen, brotha :) Maybe one day our boys can play together?
@K – HAH! Nothing wrong with that ;) A drugged squirrel saves lots of money nuts!!

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16 Janine @ My Pennies My Thoughts November 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm

I like this idea!

1. Overall, are you financially better or worse off today than you were four years ago?
Better, 4 years ago I was 17 and not saving a penny!

2. Is your employment situation better or worse compared to four years ago?
Better, no longer working for minimum wage!!!

3. How does your annual household income compare to four years ago?
Less because I no longer live with my parents

4.Are you spending more or less on housing compared to four years ago?
More because I move out and have to pay rent now

5. How are your investments performing compared to four years ago?
I had no investments 4 years ago, so I guess better?!?!

6. Are you spending more or less on groceries and gas compared to four years ago?
Less as a household, but more personally

7. Do you have more or less debt compared to four years ago?
zero in both situations

8 Are you saving more or less money compared to four years ago?
So much more and I’m so proud of myself!

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17 Stephanie November 24, 2012 at 11:15 am

1. Overall, are you financially better or worse off today than you were four years ago?

Overall, definitely better!

2 Is your employment situation better or worse compared to four years ago?

Also better, for both my husband and for me. I got a promotion at my day job and have gotten regular raises (albeit smaller-than-usual ones) at both my day job and my part-time library gig, and my husband just got a new job – he’s the new associate editor at Geekosystem.com – go read his articles! ;-)

3. How does your annual household income compare to four years ago?

I’d have to go back and check tax returns, but I believe we’re up ~$25k. Not bad considering there was a recession. ;-)

4. Are you spending more or less on housing compared to four years ago?

More, but that’s because we went from renting a 1-bedroom apartment to owning a 3-bedroom house! And actually, the only thing that makes it more is the taxes. The principle and interest on our loan is actually LESS than what we were paying in rent! Of course, we are responsible for our own repairs, but our mortgage payments are about $200-300/month less than we’d pay to rent a comparable house.

5. How are your investments performing compared to four years ago?

Also better! Obviously four years ago everything had just tanked. We managed to recoup that money and continued saving more, so our IRAs are looking fairly healthy right now.

6. Are you spending more or less on groceries and gas compared to four years ago?

A little bit more. But on average we’re still well below the “thrifty” plan on that chart the government puts out with all the various grocery budgets for different types of households. Plus, part of the reason we’re spending a bit more is because we feel comfortable enough to splurge on some things here and there.

7. Do you have more or less debt compared to four years ago?

Bah, this is one area where I have to say more. We had to take out car loans this fall. But we have no credit card debt, and we’ve been prepaying on student loans, so our debt is manageable for us, and apart from the car loans, it’s the “good” kind. And the interest rates on the car loans are so low that we’re barely paying any interest!

8. Are you saving more or less money compared to four years ago?

More! And good thing too, because although our retirement savings have been growing, between putting a downpayment on a house and two cars… let’s just say our cash savings is not quite what it was in 2008. But we’ve still got enough to make it through 3-4 months and we’re being pretty aggressive about building it back up to at least 6 months or more.

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18 Melissa@LittleHouseintheValley November 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm

We are generally better off job-wise then 4 years ago because we are both doing what we love, but we are at the bottom of the earning curve right now because I switched to a new field and my husband just started in his, but I can’t wait to see how much our situation will improve 4 years from now! Thanks for the fun questions.

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19 Econowiser November 25, 2012 at 5:11 am

We’re doing much better overall as well. I hadn’t thought of it like this before, thanks!

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20 Adrian November 25, 2012 at 5:16 am

Definetly better, and this because I sterted to care more about how do I spend money. I even started to keep a close eye on my spendings. I started with an excel file first and ended using an online tool, http://www.planthebudget.com

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21 Wayne @Young Family Finance November 25, 2012 at 8:40 pm

We are generally better off than we were four years ago, I suppose…but not by much! We live in the Rust Belt and it is hard to get paid enough to pay back the college loans. Since relocating is not an option, we make the best we can of it! A tight budget has done wonders for decreasing our debt.

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22 Tushar @ Everything Finance November 25, 2012 at 11:43 pm

A 500% increase in net worth in just four years is absolutely huge. Congratulations! Being that you have a baby now, I would imagine that some of your expenses would go up, but that’s part of life. It’s pretty great that before, you were making the same amount as you are now but with TWO incomes, and now it’s with one. Looks like you are killing it!

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23 J. Money November 26, 2012 at 10:42 am

@Janine @ My Pennies My Thoughts – Yayyy! I’m proud of yourself too! :)
@Stephanie – Cool! Tell your husband congrats for me – that site looks pretty cool :) Pretty crazy too that your mortgage costs less than rent! outside of taxes anyways. Ours was certainly not the case, haha… though we did also upgrade to a bigger place from a 1 bedroom apt too which will always be tons more.
@Melissa@LittleHouseintheValley – I bet the next time we do this 4 years from now you’ll have plenty of awesome things to say :) Keep working hard!
@Econowiser – Great! Glad to hear it.
@Adrian – Cool. Haven’t heard of that site before, but I’ll check it out… Gonna be hard to pry myself from my spreadsheets though :)
@Wayne @Young Family Finance – Rust Belt? I had to look that one up ;) Good for you guys on being pretty positive though and knowing “how it is.” I’m sure over time things will start snowballing for the better and 4 years from now will be a much better situation! Thanks for stopping by to share :)
@Tushar @ Everything Finance – Thanks! And you’re def. right – that baby keeps taking more of our money! Haha… but as all parents say, you’d never take it back :)

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24 Melissa November 27, 2012 at 2:57 am

The past two years have been better overall than the previous two years and generally yes I’m doing better now than I was 4 years ago. I’ve had one rough 2012 though. Tornadoes, hurricanes, job losses. My savings went *poof!* Investments? What are those?

I’m in escrow right now, on an extreme housing downsize and if I can swing everything my cost of living will plummet way below the cost of renting, but I’m terrified because of instability and weakness in my current job market.

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25 Nick November 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm

1 – Better – debt levels are going down, recently refinanced my mortgage from 6.125% to 3.75%, and have 12% of my work income going into a 401k with Vanguard, now just have to finish eliminating my debt (should be done in less than a year)
2 – Better, 4 years ago i took a 25% pay cut to a different career/lifestyle but lost all benefits i had, worked that job until i found the one that i am now in, i am not at the same pay as 4 years ago but i have 3x more vacation, health benefits, retirement options, education options and other benfits that put me above 4 years ago.
3 – Better, current pay is 6% lower than 4 years ago, but as i stated in #2, have more vacation, benefits etc that more than make the difference
4 – Less – but only recently found a company that would streamline refi my 4-unit primary residence from 6.125 to 3.75
5 – Better, they have been growing very well without me adding to them and for the last 5 months i’ve increased contributions
6 – More – commute is the same as 4 years ago, but cost of everything has risen
7- Less – and slowly getting rid of it all
8 – More, 6% with 100% match going into 401k, plus getting more into Roth and other investments

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26 InACents November 27, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Nice, incredible turn around in all aspects. Saving and eliminating debt are what it is all about. Great job!

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27 J. Money November 28, 2012 at 11:24 pm

@Melissa – Oh no, I’m sorry to hear! That’s def. some scary stuff :( Sending some prayers and happy thoughts!
@Nick – Nice job on that mortgage refinancing! I could only get ours down to 5.5% and totally jealous of those who got into the 4s, nonetheless 3s! That’s some good workings there…
@InACents – Thanks! Hope your situation is equally as good! :)

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28 Melissa (Miss Lissy) December 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm

All right, I’ll take a crack at it.

Overall, are you financially better or worse off today than you were four years ago? I would say from a purely emotional standpoint, I think we are financially better off. If I ran the numbers, I don’t know what they would agree, but we have an emergency fund now which we never did before, for example, and my husband has a better job, so financially that makes me feel like we are better off.
Is your employment situation better or worse compared to four years ago? Better! Instead of working college jobs where people treat you not so great, I’m a SAHM. My husband was also working college jobs and now he is a cars salesman, which he loves.
How does your annual household income compare to four years ago? I think it is greater, but I’ve never sat down and crunched the exact numbers. It’s also hard to figure it out per year in the year that we are living in because my husband is working a commission only job.
Are you spending more or less on housing compared to four years ago? Haha, not sure? I was living in a dorm 4 years ago and they didn’t break it up by month AND food was included in that cost too so I am not sure what would be dorm and what would be dorm food, you know what I mean? But we are spending less on our apartment now since we moved out than we were a year ago.
How are your investments performing compared to four years ago? N/A – We don’t really have any investments.
Do you have more or less debt compared to four years ago? More sigh. Because I was just starting college then, we have the rest of college and student loans that came out. Plus the birth of our kid – our insurance only covered 70 percent of costs so we are on the hook for the other 30 percent which sounds like it should be small but it isn’t so we’re still paying that off too.

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29 J. Money December 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Oh man, those kids are expensive right? You should check out my recent update on all the costs so far from our baby :)

http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2012/06/ultimate-baby-child-costs-tracker/

But I am glad to hear the emotional side of things are good! That’s WAY more important than the finances if you ask me. Esp if you’re not drowning in them (which would lead me to believe you *weren’t* emotionally well, haha… or you’re in denial ;)). Maybe 2013 will be the year y’all just kill it with money and your emotional state gets even better :)

Thanks for stopping by, friend!

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30 Nick from BayCrazy March 10, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Um… I’d probably say I am better off overall…

I’m certainly better at managing my money and staying within the green status, and I feel a hell of a lot better for it.

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